Las Vegas: Day Two, Part A

LAS VEGAS -- Day two in Vegas provided us with a look at a number of 2013 top 100 prospects, plus plenty of high major guards in the 2014 class. Karviar Shepherd was among the top performers in attendance.

Karviar Shepherd, C, Urban DFW Elite – After sitting out the high school season due to transfer rules, Shepard looked eager to play. The near 6-foot-10, 230-pound post prospect owned his area, rebounded the ball with some tenacity and finished around the goal. Shepard also made an effort to run the floor and looked for opportunities to get points in transition. Despite his time out, Shepard is in great shape and appears ready for a big summer.

Isaiah Hicks, PF, Garner Road – Picking up where he left off from the Carolina Challenge nearly a month ago, Hicks ran the floor with a purpose, scored inside and flashed his mid-range shot. Hicks has turned himself into one of the elite power forward in the 2013 class with the development of his jump shot and continued improvement on both ends of the floor. While he could spend more time on the glass, he has learned how to use his length to impact things on the defensive end.

Monte Morris, PG, Michigan Mustangs – The top 100 prospect had a strong first half for the Mustangs, who shot out to a double-digit lead against the Franchize All-Stars. In catch and shoot situations, Morris buried a pair of deep three-pointers, then he followed that up with a step-back 18-footer and strong finish at the rim with his left hand. While a minor knee injury hampered him in the second half, Morris lived up to his reputation.

Jonathan Williams, SG, Michigan Mustangs – Surrounded by a strong supporting cast, Williams, a 6-foot-4 wing, stood out as the Mustangs top scoring option. After starting the game with an 18-footer, the length scorer worked in finishes at the rim and was relentless on his drives. A solid athlete, Williams adjusted his shots nicely at the rim and didn't have an issue with physical play around the basket.

Mark Donnal, C, Indiana Elite South – Michigan did a great job locking Donnal up last year. He's clearly improved and has gained confidence in his low post game. Donnal has gained strength, played physical inside and fought for rebounds. On top of all that, the 6-foot-8, possibly 6-9 post player, showed development with his offensive moves. He has great hands, can score over his left shoulder and hit a mid-range jump shot.

Chris Walker, PF/C, Florida Rams – The Florida Rams train rolled through their first round tournament game against Mass Rivals. While Walker didn't play much of the game because of the blow out, when he clocked minutes he ran the floor, scored in transition and got his hands on shot attempts. He appears to have grown to at least 6-foot-10 and is an impressive all around athlete.

Chris Davenport, PF, Florida Rams – When Walker wasn't doing damage in the paint, Davenport, an undersized power forward, was. At 6-foot-6, Davenport used his mobility and athleticism in transition, scoring a handful of times on the break. A face up guy, Davenport also mixed in a spot-up three-pointer jumper and made an effort to get on the glass.

Jaron Hopkins, SF, The Magic – With a handful of high major schools looking on, Hopkins put together a strong outing against the New England Playaz. A length 6-foot-5 combo guard, Hopkins is an intriguing prospect because of his versatility on the perimeter. On the defensive end he moves his feet well and can defend a couple different positions. On offense he hit mid-range jump shots, made plays at the rim in transition and spent majority of his time on the ball.

Jalen Jenkins, PF, New Heights – The effort and energy was there for this 6-foot-7 power forward against the Atlanta Celtics. A long, athletic prospect, Jenkins hit the glass, ran the floor and attempted to block every shot in his area. Jenkins was a big part of New Heights win over the Atlanta Celtics.

Malik Pope, PF/SF, Team Superstar 16's – It didn't take long to realize Pope, a 6-foot-7 rangy combo forward, could play. Blessed with tremendous length and athleticism, Pope ran the floor with purpose and consistently made the right play when he had the ball in his hands. Arguably his best attribute was his ability to pass, as he could see over the defense and tossed out a handful of assists.

While Pope, a standout at Burbank (Calif.) High, didn't connect on any jump shots, his form looks good and he's certainly comfortable shooting jumpers. Time will tell which position he ends up at, but he doesn't appear down growing and has the tools and ability to play at a high level.

D'Angelo Russell. PG/SG, Louisville Magic – In a pool play loss, Russell mixed shots from the perimeter as well as drives to the basket, on his way to a 20 plus point outing. Although he goes through the motions a little at times, when Russell wants to get to the basket or create a shot opportunity, he can.

Scoring isn't an issue for the lengthy 6-foot-3 combo guard. The southpaw shoots it well off the catch, off the dribble and has developed an impressive middle game. While he plays off the ball with Quentin Snider also on his squad, Russell is also a talented passer that makes plays in transition.

Quentin Snider, PG, Louisville Magic – As the game against Dream Vision wore on, Snider, a 6-foot-1 Louisville commit, got better. He consistently beat his man to the basket, created shots for his teammates and mixed in finishes at the rim and three-point shots. His feel and basketball IQ are notable, and his ability to finish and score when attacking the basket appears to be getting better. Louisville locked in a good one early.

Noah Vonleh, PF/SF, Mass Rivals – In the final pool play game against Indiana Elite South, Vonleh, a 6-foot-8 combo forward, showed his full game. A quick leaper, Vonleh impacted the game on the defensive end with his shot blocking. He was also a force on the glass, as he reeled in a number rebounds. On the offensive end, Vonleh shoots the ball well off the catch and scores it well around the basket. The next step in his wing development is adding a mid-range pull-up. In all, Vonleh, a five-star recruit, is an elite prospect and one of the best forward's in the 2014 class.

Kaleb Joseph, PG, Mass Rivals – Running the show for Mass Rivals, Joseph, a 6-foot-2 lead guard, was charged with creating opportunities and looks for the weapons surrounding him. Against Indiana Elite South, Joseph did just that. The wiry framed guard has impressive physical tools, as he's long, athletic and has good speed. Once in the paint, Joseph showed nice touch on his floater, but spent most of his time dishing off for assists. Joseph has the look of a high major prospect.

Team Superstar sophomore D.J. Wilson had a nice showing in a morning game. The 6-foot-5 lengthy wing prospect is skilled and showed he could score in transition and from mid-range.

*Urban DFW has a bunch of talented wing prospects. Brandon Parrish, Shirmane Thomas and Davontae Bailey all caught my eye. Bailey plays on the ball for his high school team, but is relied upon to score for Urban DFW.

*Anton Gill struggled from the field in a morning game against Urban DFW Elite. With that said, I was impressed with his ability to play physical and through contact. He didn't have an issue creating space for shot attempts.

*Soma Edo is an elite athlete. In fact, the 6-foot-6 is one of the top leapers in all of the 2013 class. Against Garner Road, Edo threw down dunks in transition and caught a handful of alley-oops.

*2015 big man Jarred Reuter has plenty of potential. He stands 6-foot-8, possibly 6-9, and checks in at, at least 240-pounds. He has great hands, nice touch inside and can clear some space. He runs with the New England Playaz on the circuit.

*Mass Rivals is loaded with young talent. To go with Vonleh and Joseph, Matt Ciminio, Jeremy Miller, Josh Sharma and Idris Taqqee all impressed at times. Vinny Pastore's group consisted of nearly all 2014 and 2015 prospects.

*Demarcus Croaker showed a nice jump shot for the Florida Rams on Saturday. The 6-foot-3 guard has added strength to his frame and has good athleticism. He is a nice piece for the Rams.

*Kendall Harris claims scholarship offers from Missouri, Creighton, Marquette and Houston. He also cited interest from Texas, Alabama and Kansas.

*Sophomore guard Davontae Bailey said he's heard from Indiana, Missouri State, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

*Karvair Shepherd made it clear he's wide open with his recruitment, but did mention Kansas, Texas A&M, Florida State, Texas, Marquette, Louisville and Syracuse as those showing interest.

*Michigan Mustangs wing Jonathan Williams said he has scholarship offers from Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Cleveland State, Florida International and Detroit. He also cited interest from Toledo, Boston College, Penn State, Oakland, Duquesne and Kent State.

*Louisville Magic drew Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, plus assistants from Indiana, New Mexico, Stanford, Stony Brook and Columbia during an afternoon game.

*Malik Pope drew the likes of California, UNLV, Arizona State, LMU and Colorado during a morning pool play game.

*Billy Donovan spent much of his day tracking the Florida Rams duo of Kasey Hill and Chris Walker. Hill is committed to the Gators, while Walker is one of their top targets in the class.

*Urban DFW Elite drew a large crowd for a morning game. Among the coaches in attendance were Texas A&M, Alabama, Western Kentucky, Kansas State, Wichita State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Santa Clara, Housotn, Creighton and Boise State.

*Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was spotted at every New Heights game on Saturday. Cronin was there to watch unsigned 2012 top 100 prospect Chris Obekpa.


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